POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Remembering Mitsuharu Misawa

John Pollock looks at the legacy of Mitsuharu Misawa, released WWE talent issues comment, Joanna Jedrzejczyk retires, Kojima vs. Kenoh.

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is live tonight at 11 p.m. ET minutes after WWE Raw goes off the air. Wai Ting and I will be discussing the news of Jeff Hardy’s arrest on Monday, a review of Raw from Wichita, and we’ll take your feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum. You can watch the show live on the POST YouTube channel tonight.

**Rewind-A-Wai #112 will be released Tuesday night covering WWE’s Money in the Bank from June 2016. The show was selected by Espresso Executive Producer Dom from Naperville and features Roman Reigns defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Seth Rollins, John Cena taking on AJ Styles, and the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. You can post feedback on the event on the POST Wrestling Forum and the show will be exclusive to all POST Wrestling Café members.

**For Café members, this week we will have four bonus shows including Rewind-A-Wai, MCU L8R on Thursday covering the second episode of Ms. Marvel, Rewind-A-SmackDown, and a Slammiversary POST Show on Sunday night.

**AAA will be presenting its TripleMania event in Tijuana this Saturday and POST Wrestling will have coverage from thecubsfan at Luchablog with a report of the show.

**Martin Bushby of The British Wrestling Experience will join us Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET on the POST Daily News Show to discuss the history of the show as he steps away from it next month.

POST DAILY NEWS SHOW

John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss:

– NJPW Dominion review
– Jay White wins the IWGP World Heavyweight title
– The G1 Climax field
– Kojima wins GHC title at CyberFight Festival
– Keiji Muto to retire next spring
– Troy “2 Dimes” Donovan released
– WWE Raw

Audio version for POST Wrestling Café members.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight
: Rewind-A-Raw at 11 p.m. ET
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai – WWE Money in the Bank 2016 (Patreon)
Tuesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite at 10 p.m.
Thursday: The British Wrestling Experience
Thursday: The Wellness Policy at 3 p.m.
Thursday: MCU L8R – Ms. Marvel Ep. 2 (Patreon)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown at 11 p.m.
Saturday: The Long & Winding Royal Road (Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio
Sunday: IMPACT Slammiversary POST Show w/ John Pollock (Patreon)

MITSUHARU MISAWA

**Today marks the anniversary of the passing of legendary star Mitsuharu Misawa, who died at the age of 46 following an injury sustained in a tag match in Hiroshima.

Alongside Kenta Kobashi, Toshiaki Kawada, and Akira Taue they became known as ‘The Four Pillars of Heaven’, although according to some might be a case of the term being lost in translation and believed to be closer to ‘The Big Four’ or ‘The Four Deities’ according to Fumi Saito in the book Ganbaru by Jonathan Foye.

Misawa was part of the greatest collection of matches throughout the ‘90s that inspired generations of future performers and continue to be romanticized today despite the heavy toll incurred. They risked their long-term health for that of the company while leaving a legacy that will outlive themselves.

Misawa was a product of the All Japan dojo and graduated in 1981 as he came up through the ranks, including a run as Tiger Mask II and succeeding Satoru Sayama. After unmasking in 1990, his career took off after a famous match pinning Tomomi ‘Jumbo’ Tsuruta in June and beginning a popularity surge for All Japan that kicked off the decade with Misawa primed to be the flag bearer.

He captured his first of five Triple Crown titles in August 1992, defeating legendary foreign wrestler Stan Hansen and firmly positioned Misawa as the leader of the new generation of All Japan.

One of his greatest stories was with Toshiaki Kawada, a high school classmate, one year his junior. The two engaged in countless singles and tag classics highlighted by a match in June 1994 that is among the greatest singles matches in history – followed by Kawada’s first pinfall victory on Misawa on June 9, 1995, during a tag match at a sold-out Budokan Hall. It is generally regarded as the greatest tag match of all time. Kawada would finally score a singles match victory on Misawa in May 1998 at the Tokyo Dome.

After Giant Baba’s passing in January 1999, a power struggle began between Misawa and Motoko Baba over the direction of the promotion. Misawa attempted to modernize certain elements of the business and quietly orchestrated an exit strategy a year in the making which led to the formation of Pro Wrestling NOAH in the summer of 2001. It was nearly a death blow to All Japan – losing all its Japanese talent except Kawada and Masa Fuchi along with a handful of foreign talent. In addition, long-time broadcaster NTV went with Misawa and forced Baba to scramble and work with New Japan that year to save the company and rely on the returning Tenryu, over ten years since his defection to form SWS.

Misawa remained a focal point of NOAH, although it was clear in the first set of shows that Jun Akiyama was the chosen star to carry the company. It wouldn’t work out that way and the company didn’t catch fire until the latest legendary match involving Misawa and Kenta Kobashi on March 1, 2003, which kicked off Kobashi’s greatest championship run of his career. It took NOAH to the top of the Japanese wrestling scene and led to the company having the strength to book the Tokyo Dome in the summer of 2004 and again the following year. It was the 2005 event that featured the final showdown between Misawa and Kawada.

His death was a scary wake-up call of the limits one’s body has. It is not a lesson that has been fully absorbed as wrestlers continually push the mark further and further, dancing dangerously close to the sun on a routine basis. For some, the toll is worth the price with a scary cheque coming due on the backend of one’s career. One can celebrate the legendary body of work provided by Misawa but must also realize that on June 13, 2009, his body could not take anymore and provided a scary and somber reminder of one’s limits.

WRESTLING NEWS

**WWE Raw takes place from the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas tonight and airs at 8 p.m. on the USA Network. The preview WWE has released lists the following segments for tonight’s episode:
*The Judgment Day return to Raw with a new direction
*Seth Rollins answers for his attack on Cody Rhodes

**Troy ‘2 Dimes’ Donovan was released by WWE over the weekend, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The report stated it was over a policy issue, but the specifics have not been released. Donovan acknowledged the news and posted “Thank you to everyone who’s reached out. Mistakes happen and lessons are learned. A bump in the road doesn’t define me though. I’ll be back”. As Cole Karter, he wrestled on the independent scene beginning in the summer of 2020 and began receiving bookings for AEW the following year including a loss to Anthony Ogogo on an episode of Dynamite. He signed with WWE earlier this year and was paired with Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo as sidekicks for Tony D’Angelo for their programs with Legado del Fantasma.

**Satoshi Kojima will make his first defense of the GHC Heavyweight Championship against Kenoh on Saturday, July 15th. Pro Wrestling NOAH has announced that the match will take place at Nippon Budokan and coincides with the first night of the G1 Climax. Kojima won the championship from Go Shiozaki in the main event of Sunday’s CyberFight Festival at the Saitama Super Arena, ending Shiozaki’s fifth title reign.

**Here are the matches listed for tonight’s edition of AEW Dark: Elevation at 7 p.m. ET on the AEW YouTube channel:
*Nyla Rose vs. Max The Impaler
*Private Party vs. Pharell Jackson & SK Bishop
*Ortiz vs. Anaya
*Mercedes Martinez & Serena Deeb vs. Miranda Gordy & Tootie Lynn
*Matt Menard & Angelo Parker vs. Danny Adams & Warhorse
*Ruby Soho vs. Heidi Howitzer
*QT Marshall & Aaron Solo vs. Evil Uno & Preston “10” Vance

**New Japan Pro Wrestling resumes this Thursday with a card in Tochigi headlined by Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & SANADA against Kazuchika Okada, Togi Makabe & Hiroyoshi Tenzan.

**All Japan Pro Wrestling has a big show at Ota Ward Gymnasium this Sunday with Champions Night 4 headlined by Kento Miyahara vs. Jake Lee for the Triple Crown. The top matches include Shuji Ishikawa & Kohei Sato defending the All Japan tag titles against Shotaro Ashino & Ryuki Honda, Hikaru Sato defending the Jr. Heavyweight title against Tiger Mask, and Yuji Nagata teaming with Dan Tamura against Suwama & Taru.

**MLW has added a match between Scarlett Bordeaux and Clara Carreras for its Battle Riot IV event on Friday, June 23rd in New York City at the Melrose Ballroom.

**Shiozaki’s incredible entrance at CyberFight Festival.

**FTR are guests on Hey! (EW) with host RJ City.

**The WWE stock closed at $63.85 on Monday.

**WWE released a video touting its second class for the Next in Line program including messages from several of the fifteen class members:

MMA NEWS

**One of the major news stories from UFC 275 was Joanna Jedrzejczyk announcing her retirement moments after a spinning back fist knockout loss to Zhang Weili.

The 34-year-old had not competed since the first fight with Weili in March 2020 but would have earned a title fight with a win on Saturday night. Jedrzejczyk was signed by the UFC as a 6-0 fighter after two years of pro fights. She quickly ascended the strawweight ladder with three wins in six months in 2014 where she ended the year beating Claudia Gadelha by a split decision. That punched her ticket for a title fight against inaugural UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza at UFC 185 the following March and won the championship after stopping Esparza in the second round. Jedrzejczyk defended the title five times including serving as the co-main event at UFC 193 in Australia alongside Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm and would coach a season of TUF with Gadelha and beat her a second time in July 2016 during International Fight Week. In November 2016, Jedrzejczyk defended the title successfully beating Karolina Kowalkiewicz at the UFC’s first event at Madison Square Garden featured Conor McGregor winning the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez and would make another defense by beating Jessica Andrade in May 2017 at UFC 211.

Jedrzejczyk was finally stopped by Rose Namajunas at UFC 217, which also took place at Madison Square Garden and included the famous calls of “Thug Rose, Thug Rose” by Daniel Cormier. In a rematch the following year, Namajunas defeated Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision and put the former champion outside of the title picture for the first time in her UFC career.

Jedrzejczyk experimented by fighting at flyweight for the vacant championship but was defeated by Valentina Shevchenko in December 2018 with Jedrzejczyk moving back to her normal weight class. She bounced back with a decision win against Michelle Waterson in October 2019 before the legendary war with Zhang Weili in March 2020.

The two put on one of the greatest fights in MMA history and easily won ‘fight of the year’. It is almost a guarantee that the fight will be part of the UFC’s Hall of Fame in the future along with Jedrzejczyk herself, who became the promotion’s first strawweight star and established the division during its infancy.

It is hard to determine how much of a toll the first fight with Weili took on Jedrzejczyk. She didn’t fight for 2 ½ years and there is a financial impact when you lose the championship and have to work and train just as hard, and fight the toughest opponents, but for most, it’s less lucrative without a championship. If Jedrzejczyk had won on Saturday, she would likely have been favored in a rematch with Esparza and would have been a great story given the history of their fight from seven years ago.

Weili was the better fighter on Saturday with a vicious knockout that will be in contention among the top knockouts of the year. It also clinches her opportunity to fight for the championship again after holding the 115-pound title from August 2019 until April 2021.

**New UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka brought the championship to his hometown of Brno, Czech Republic with a massive attendance for the homecoming:

**The fight between Prochazka and Teixeira appears to be the new frontrunner for ‘Fight of the Year’ and was a nonstop exciting affair for five rounds because of the constant shift in momentum with a memorable ending with 28 seconds left. Teixeira was up on two of the three judges’ cards going into the fifth round where he cracked the challenger with a strike that was likely the best of the whole fight. Instead of going for more strikes, Teixeira went for a guillotine and ended up on his back but still controlled the fight until the final minute. Prochazka escaped Teixeira’s control and managed to secure an air-tight rear-naked choke and win the championship seconds before he was going to lose by decision. Suddenly, there are some interesting options at light heavyweight ranging from an immediate rematch with Teixeira, the winner of Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith on July 30th, and former champion Jan Blachowicz.

**The UFC announced an attendance of 10,787 and a live gate of $1,546,732 for UFC 275 at the Singapore Indoor Arena in Kallang this past Saturday. The clear-cut Fight of the Night was Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover Teixeira with Performance of the Night bonuses going to Zhang Weili, Jake Matthews, Jake Della Maddalena, and Hayisaer Malheshante for $50,000 each.

**During Saturday’s broadcast, it was confirmed that Kamaru Usman will defend the Welterweight Championship against Leon Edwards at UFC 278 on Saturday, August 20th in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s been a long road for Edwards, who has gone 9-0 with 1 no-contest since May 2016 and picked up wins against Vicente Luque, Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson, Rafael dos Anjos, and Nate Diaz during that run. This fight was delayed after Usman required hand surgery and sets up a rematch from December 2015 where Usman won by unanimous decision and was the last time Edwards lost a fight. This will be a test for Usman’s drawing strength as reports have indicated strong numbers that the champion has posted against Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington, with two fights against each since late 2019. Invariably, those have benefited from having strong challengers but this one will reflect how the public views Usman as a major star against a quality opponent that doesn’t have anywhere near the marquee appeal of Masvidal or Covington.

**Next Saturday’s UFC Fight Night event is on the road with a card in Austin, Texas headlined by a featherweight fight between Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett and features the re-booked fight from UFC 274 between Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon.

******
POST DAILY NEWS: NJPW Dominion Review, G1 Climax 32 Entrants
John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss the latest wrestling news including a review of NJPW Dominion and the announcement of G1 Climax 32 entrants.
*****
WRESTLENOMICS: Turning the corner on the possibility of WWE M&A
Brandon Thurston is joined by Chris Gullo to discuss the possibility of WWE being acquired by Comcast. Plus, news on AEW pay-per-view sales for Double or Nothing and more.
*****
UFC 275 POST Show: Teixeira vs. Prochazka
Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte review Saturday’s UFC 275 card featuring Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka for the light heavyweight title.
******
AEW Rampage & WWE SmackDown POST Show
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Rampage featuring the AEW in-ring debut of Will Ospreay and WWE SmackDown featuring Ricochet vs. Gunther for the Intercontinental Title.
*****

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About John Pollock 4085 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.